Definition of jackleg
- a jackleg lawyer
- a jackleg carpenter
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
a toolshed that can be built by any jackleg carpenter who's capable of hitting a nail without smashing his thumb
he did such a jackleg installation of that door frame that now the door won't shut
Don't call someone jackleg unless you're prepared for that person to get angry with you. Throughout its more than 150-year-old history in English, jackleg has most often been used as a term of contempt and deprecation, particularly in reference to lawyers and preachers. Its form echoes that of the similar blackleg, an older term for a cheating gambler or a worker opposed to union policies. Etymologists know that blackleg appeared over a hundred years before jackleg, but they don't have any verifiable theories about the origin of either term.
What made you want to look up jackleg? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).